Sociology 385A+B, Second Year Research Practicum                                            Draft: Sept 22, 2019

Fall, 2019 and Winter, 2020



For Fall:

Class meets Mondays, 10:30A-12:20P

Bldg 50, room 50H


For Winter:

Class meets Wednesdays, 10:30A-12:20P

Room TBA


My office hour:

Fall: Mondays, 3:15-4:30


Professor Michael Rosenfeld




We will meet roughly every other week (with a few exceptions). This class has two goals:

1) To help you learn how to turn your current research project into an excellent second year paper, and eventually into a published paper.

2) To learn tricks of the trade by careful study of a published journal article that you will pick as your guide star paper for the two quarters. Please pick a published journal article that has some similarity (methodologically or substantively) to your intended project. Please select a guide star paper published after 2000, as we want to capture current norms and expectations in the journals.


Assignments: For some assignments, you both perform the assignment, and you will be graded on your feedback of another studentís assignment. Because most assignments have a component of students evaluating each othersí work, no late assignments can be accepted. This class is all about working on your paper writing process; you are not expected to have a finished product, but you must produce your work-in-progress on time and on deadline.


Students with Disabilities:

Students with disabilities that may necessitate an academic accommodation must initiate a request with the Office of Accessible Education.  See the website, or call (650) 723-1066 voice (650) 723-1067 TTY



We will endeavor to tackle your second year paper piece by piece (motivating question, literature review, data, methods, results, conclusions) by also looking at how the author(s) of your guide star paper tackled the same issues.


Required Reading (on reserve at Green library)

*Becker, Howard S. and Pamela Richards. 2007 [1986]. Writing for Social Scientists. University of Chicago Press. ISBN-10: 0226041328


Recommended Readings (on reserve at Green library)

* Firebaugh, Glen. 2008. Seven Rules for Social Research. Princeton University Press.

* Becker, Howard. 1998. Tricks of the Trade: How to Think about your Research while you are doing it. University of Chicago Press.




Class date


Due Date/ Class date



Class Participation

Every class

10 points in 385A

First class

Talk about the plan of Soc 385A+B

September 23



Pick a guide star paper, and write a Project Plan for your paper and describe the project plan of the guide star paper, side by side. Emphasis on the parts of your paper that can be known early: the question and the data.

October 2


Second class

Each student presents their project and describes their guide star paper

October 7



Literature review (for your paper) and main idea, and summary of the main idea and literature review of your guide star paper. One page lit web for your guide star paper.

October 16



Comment on another studentís literature review (mainly), and explanation of the literature review and lit web of their guide star paper (if you can).

October 19


Third class

Each student presents on their literature review and main idea, and the idea and literature review of their guide star paper. Each student comments on the presentation of another student

October 21



Data and methods justification for your paper, and explanation of data and methods justification in your guide star paper.

October 30



Comment on another studentís data and methods justification (and if you can, comment on the other studentís evaluation of the data and methods justification in their guide star paper)

November 2


Fourth class

Present the data and methods justification

November 4



Form a committee

November 8



Writing Exercise: Read Beckerís Writing for Social Scientists, submit a revised and clarified literature review and main idea description of your project (5 pages). Find a section of your guide star paper whose writing is opaque, and quote it and critique it (2 pages)

November 13



Each student critiques the lit review and main idea description of another student for clarity and vigor of writing.

November 16


Fifth Class

Each student presents their critique of some part of the guide star paperís language, and each student presents a critique of another studentís revised lit review and main idea.

November 18



Work on your papers

Thanksgiving break Nov 25-29


Sixth class


Dec 2



Point total for Fall quarter:




In Winter quarter we are going to work section-by-section through your second year paper drafts. The Winter quarter syllabus will be forthcoming soon.